Mediation and The Ego Death Mindset

By Douglas Katz – 12/12/2022

Conflict is part of the human condition.  Be it due to limited resources, different view points or both, we humans like to fight and we seem to always be able to find new ways to do so.  Whether in our relationships, work lives or our daily interaction with the world around us, conflict is everywhere.  The good news is that as rational beings we try to find new and better ways to reduce conflict.  One which has gained a lot of momentum in the world of alternative dispute resolution is mediation.  In a nutshell, mediation is about using a disinterested 3rd party to help parties in conflict to work together to create and agree upon an outcome which is acceptable to all parties and which, most importantly, ends the conflict.  While generally associated with divorce, mediation is a broad field that covers resolution of all types of conflict.

This is the fifth in a series of articles that I am writing about considerations while selecting a mediator.  I see too many people neglect this most important part of a mediation and all too often this can hinder outcomes.  Not all mediators are created equal and that is actually a GOOD thing.  Every mediation is different and the parties are different which definitely shapes the best selection.  I recommend deciding what kind of mediation experience that you want and interviewing/selecting a mediator based on their personality as well as a set of skills that match your needs, wants and preferences.  Hopefully my insight on some characteristics and mindsets will help you make the right selection.

Conflict is an interesting phenomenon that brings out the worst in people.  Whatever the reason be it anything from fair apportionment of limited resources to fair division of work in a household, conflict often moves to the personal.  That is not to say that the initial reason or reasons for the disagreement were not objective, but rather that as friction from the disagreement heats up, the conflict migrates to the personal.  This is not surprising as we are beings who need some degree of self to exist and interact, but sometimes the self, the ego, can be a drag on determining a solution.